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Keeping your cool when it gets hot

Whilst there are no legal limits on working in hot weather, with temperatures predicted to again reach new highs over the next few days there are some practical steps you can take and things you should do for the care of yourself, your staff and your stock.

1. Change your hours

Open the shop earlier to get the heavy work done – it’s far more pleasant at 06.00 - and maybe shut earlier too. If no one is venturing out is there any point you being cooped up when you could be out there enjoying it?

2. Cool it down

If you have a cooler you are a million steps ahead – if not then now may be the time to investigate one! If you don’t then either get an aircon unit if you can or put a fan in front of ice filled bucket to create cool air – it’s not perfect but better than nothing as will reduce air temperature. Oh yes and make sure you keep shop ventilated – if you have a back door open it to create a through draft.

3. Forget the fridge

NEVER EVER put flowers in a domestic fridge. They are not designed for flowers and quite simply they will freeze inside and die as soon as you take them out into warmer air.

4. Buy sensibly

Hot weather and holidays is the perfect combination for slow sales but that doesn't mean it will be dead so buy accordingly. Choose sturdy flowers like Chrysanth, lilies, carnations etc. As long as you choose novelty colours and interesting, long lasting fillers you can still create gorgeousness without too much wastage.

5. Keep it minimal

Do not put flowers out on open display unless the shop is really cool. Better to keep them in the back and have two or three ready to go designs with a sign explaining why than a bank of wilting flowers. Use plants to fill space or use it as a good excuse to have a deep clean and sort out.

6. Keep it clean

Take extra care on your cutting and conditioning to keep flowers in peak condition and only ever use Level 2 food in the water - you can see our Care and conditioning tips here. Make sure all buckets are squeaky clean and the water is changed every other day. May be tedious but hot/humid weather makes water stagnant and stinky far faster - not a good thing for a flower shop where fragrance is paramount.

7. Explain to customers

Make sure all deliveries have a care card with them and if necessary add in an additional Hot Weather warning like our example below.

8. Keep hydrated

Drink plenty of water – at least 1.5 litres a day and more if possible. Buy in bulk and put through as a staff expense. Cool rather than iced is considered better but avoid anything fizzy. Strangely tea has a cooling impact as well – pack a Thermos if you working off site!

9. Build in loo breaks

What goes in often has to come out so if you're working off site make sure there is time for loo breaks and factor it in into any build up, especially if said loos are miles away.

10. Turn your back on black

If your uniforms are black offer the option to wear white or light – especially if people are working outdoors. Black/dark colours absorb heat and will make people feel more uncomfortable. Corporate branding is one thing, fainting staff really doesn’t look good.

11. Wear a hat

Issue hats; baseball or whatever but when working outside keep heads covered ... again it helps avoids the overheating/fainting process.

12. Sit in the shade

If doing an installation try and start earlier and make sure your team can take breaks wherever and whenever possible. We know that’s hard but 10 minutes in a cool place will help and maintain productivity. However don’t sit in a hot van; sit under a tree or a cool part of the site.

13. Slap it on!

Have sun cream available for staff working on outside events. Even if it is cloudy the UV rays can still get through.

14. Protect the toes!

On wedding set ups closed boots are essential but in the shop and however hot it is we wouldn’t recommend flip flops or other open toed footwear as there are just too many risks of cuts, broken toes and stepping on sharp things. Canvas (like Converse) are good with sock liners or – if you can bear it given they now come in fab colours - Crocs can be an option as the soles are thick and waterproof.

15. Keep them dry!

Make up wedding bouquets in the early morning, spray with Crowning Glory or similar if wired or stand and deliver in water if a hand tied. However make sure someone knows to take it out half an hour before the photos are being taken to dry any ribbon and stems out to avoid the brides dress getting wet and looking bad.

16. Foam is OK if needed

If necessary use floral foam for external installations. If the bride has specified no foam explain why you, in your professional opinion, feel it is necessary due to the unprecedented heat levels. In these temperatures a flower tube may not be enough so it is better to use some foam to ensure she gets the look she wants than have a wilting display that results in disappointment and complaints.


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